Soda bread and lamb-neck stew

Irish soda bread and lamb stew.
Irish soda bread and lamb stew. Photo: Quentin Jones

Soda bread is one of the easiest breads to make and it looks and tastes fantastic.


Soda bread

420g buttermilk

600g plain flour

2 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

30g castor sugar

60g butter, cut into cubes

Lamb stew

1.25kg lamb neck, cut into 2cm cubes

Vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

2 medium brown onions, diced

3 carrots, diced

2 celery sticks, diced

6 garlic cloves, sliced

300ml white wine

½ cup plain flour

1L beef stock, warmed

6 sprigs thyme

2 sprigs rosemary

3 bay leaves

½ cup chopped parsley


Soda bread

Pre-heat oven to 140C. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar into a food-mixer bowl. Add butter and mix with beaters until mixture resembles a coarse crumb. Add buttermilk and mix until a soft dough is formed; do not over-mix. The dough can also be prepared by hand. Place dough on a lightly floured bench and knead until soft and not sticky, about one minute. Shape into a ball, place on a baking tray and cut a deep cross into the top. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes.

Lamb-neck stew

Brown lamb neck in a little vegetable oil in a frying pan. Season and reserve. In a heavy-based saucepan, heat a little vegetable oil and fry the onion, carrot, celery and garlic until soft and starting to brown. Add wine and reduce by half. Add flour and stir to combine. Add stock and bring to the boil. Add lamb, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves and cover with baking paper. Simmer for 1½ hours or until lamb is soft. Serve with chopped parsley and soda bread.